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Uptake of foliar applied urea by winter wheat triticum aestivum the influence of application time and the use of a new nitrogen 15 technique



Uptake of foliar applied urea by winter wheat triticum aestivum the influence of application time and the use of a new nitrogen 15 technique



Journal of the Science of Food & Agriculture 48(4): 429-440



A new 15N technique (termed the negative discard method) for measuring recovery of foliar-applied N by crops in the field is described. 15N-labelled fertiliser solution is sprayed on to a small area of crop, using a hand sprayer, while the surrounding area is sprayed with unlabelled N at the same rate. An area considerably larger than that given 15N is harvested with a small-;plot combine-harvester, and crop recovery of foliar-applied N is calculated from the 15N enrichment of the resulting sample containing a mixture of labelled and unlabelled material. The technique was used to measure recovery of N from 15N-labelled urea solution sprayed on to winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L cv Avalon) at six different times from growth stage 39 (3 weeks before anthesis) to growth stage 73 (2 weeks after anthesis). Each treatment of 40 kg N ha-1 was divided into two equal portions, the second being applied 1-2 days after the first, to minimise the risk of leaf damage. The crop had earlier received 210 kg N ha-1, as 'Nitro-Chalk', in spring (50 kg ha-1 at growth stage 22 and 160 kg ha-1 at growth stage 31) which was more than sufficient to achieve maximum grain yield. At harvest, 70% of the foliar-applied N given at anthesis (growth stage 65) was recovered in the above-ground crop, including 64% in grain. The proportion of labelled N recovered in the grain (92% of that in the above-ground crop) was slightly greater than with soil-applied N given earlier in the growing season. Recovery of foliar-applied N was slightly less for the earliest (growth stage 39) and latest (growth stage 73) times of spraying; 64% and 58% in above-ground crop, and 56% and 54% in grain, respectively. All of the foliar applications of 40 kg N ha-1 increased % N in grain to the same extent as an additional 40 kg N ha-1 applied to soil in spirng.

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